It’s the month of love and pizza

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietician

It’s the month of love and all things hearts, both in health and holiday. I have a love affair with pizza, which at first thought doesn’t really fly with healthy eating. But with a few tweaks, pizza can fit into a heart healthy diet. states that over 5 billion pizzas are sold every year worldwide, with 3 billion in the U.S. It’s big business! Pizza is a great slice of American agriculture! Pizzerias in 2010 purchased more than $4 billion worth of cheese, that doesn’t even count homemade and frozen pizzas!

Pizza’s early roots began along the waterfront in Naples, Italy. “Tiny houses” or one-room homes were so small, early pizzas were baked outside. Judgmental Italians thought the early pizzas were disgusting. Queen Margherita, while visiting Naples in 1889, became bored with her uptight French diet and requested some pizza. Even with a pizza named after the queen, pizza remained associated with the lower class until around 1940. Italian immigrants began bringing their flavors and aromas to charm the locals in the U.S. The first U.S. pizzeria was G. Lombardi’s in Manhattan in 1905. Supposedly this namesake and it’s original oven remain today, although the location has moved. Post-World War II is when American’s love affair with pizzerias and pizza as fast, fun food took off, and the rest is history.

Pizza has come a long way over the years. The sky is the limit for toppings, crusts and sauces of all kinds. Around 94% of American’s eat pizza regularly. Start with a whole wheat crust or try one of the popular cauliflower crusts. Choose a thin crust if you are on a low cal diet or have diabetes. A healthy crust is the vehicle for all kinds of healthy toppings. Next, sprinkle with lower fat cheese. Experiment out of the box with different flavors and textures by loading up on the veggies and lean proteins. Portion control is the main key! Paul is never happy with me when I order a small pizza. Add a salad with lean protein or a tall glass of milk to balance your meal out!

It’s not clear when it started or who started this national occurrence, but Feb. 9 is National Pizza Pie day. Since most of us don’t need another reason to eat pizza, this year think outside the box and try some new toppings or crusts. Enjoy a slice and thank American agriculture for its impact of the flavors of today.

Eat well and healthy!



Tricolor Salad Pizza by Ellie Krieger                     


Cooking spray

1 oz parmesan cheese (1/3 cup grated)

2 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese

¾ pound store-bought whole-wheat pizza dough, at room temperature

1 tablespoon cornmeal

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

Freshly ground pepper

1 small head radicchio

2 heads endive

1 cup grape tomatoes

4 cups baby arugula

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar



Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Spray 2 baking sheets with cooking spray. Finely grate the parmesan and thinly slice the mozzarella. Cut the pizza dough into 4 pieces. Sprinkle a work surface with the cornmeal and use a rolling pin and/or your hands to stretch each piece of dough into a rectangle about 5 by 11 inches; place 2 rectangles on each baking sheet. Brush the dough with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, then distribute 4 tablespoon-size dollops of the ricotta onto each rectangle. Scatter with the mozzarella slices, then sprinkle evenly with the grated parmesan and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bake until the cheese is melted and the dough is browned, about 12 minutes. While the pizzas are cooking, thinly slice the radicchio and endive and halve the tomatoes. Toss in a large bowl with the arugula, the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. Top each pizza with about 1 1/2 cups salad. Serve immediately


Apple Pizza Pie Farm Journal’s Country Cookbook

I remember making this with my mom when I was a kid.


1 ¼ cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup shortening

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1 4⁄ cup cold water

1⁄2 c non-dairy powdered coffee creamer

1 2⁄ cup packed brown sugar

1⁄2 cup white sugar

1 3⁄ cup sifted flour

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ c butter

6 cups peeled and sliced apples

2 tablespoons lemon juice



Preheat oven to 450 degrees F°.

Crust: Mix flour and salt. Cut in shortening until crumbly. Add cheese. Sprinkle water over mixture and work until you can shape dough into a ball. Roll pastry out into a 15 in circle on a floured surface. Place on baking sheet or pizza pan and turn up edges.

Base/topping: Combine powdered creamer, sugars, flour, salt and spices. Sprinkle dough with half of this mixture.

Topping: Cut butter into remaining sugar mixture. Arrange apple slices, overlapping them in circles on crust. Sprinkle with lemon and add crumb topping. Bake at 450 F for 30 minutes or until apples are tender. Serve warm.


Carne Asada Pizza


12 oz refrigerated fresh pizza dough

2 small poblano peppers

8 ounces flank steak, trimmed

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

Cooking spray

1 small red onion, 1/2-inch-thick rings

1/2 cup lower-sodium marinara sauce

1 Tbsp adobo sauce from 1 can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce

1 tablespoon cornmeal

1 oz (1/4 c) part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

1 oz (1/4c) cheddar cheese, shredded

1 oz.(1/4c) queso fresco, crumbled

1 cup chopped seeded tomato

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 Tbsp.minced red onion

Cilantro sprigs (optional)


Let dough stand at room temperature, covered, for 30 minutes.

Preheat broiler to high. Arrange poblanos on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil 8 minutes or until charred on all sides, turning occasionally. Wrap peppers in foil; close tightly. Let stand 15 minutes. Peel and seed peppers; discard skin, membrane, and seeds. Cut into 1/4- inch-thick strips.

Place a pizza stone or heavy baking sheet in oven. Preheat oven to 500° (keep pizza stone or baking sheet in oven as it preheats).

Sprinkle steak with cumin, chipotle powder, and salt. Heat a grill pan over high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add steak to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until well marked. Let stand 10 minutes. Thinly slice steak across the grain.

Add onion rings to pan; grill 4 minutes on each side or until well marked. Place in a bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Combine marinara and adobo sauce.

Roll dough into a 15 x 9-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Pierce dough liberally with a fork. Sprinkle cornmeal on pizza stone. Place dough on hot stone; bake at 500° for 5 minutes. Remove stone from oven. Spread sauce mixture over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border; top evenly with mozzarella and cheddar. Arrange poblano and onion slices over pizza; top with steak. Sprinkle with queso fresco. Return stone to oven; bake pizza 9 minutes or until crust is done.

Combine tomato, juice, and minced red onion; sprinkle tomato mixture over pizza. Top with cilantro sprigs, if desired.

Mediterranean Diet Margherita Pizza

1 Whole Wheat Pizza Crust–ready to use.

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

Canned Tomatoes- Use crushed tomatoes or diced tomatoes. About 1/2 to 3/4 cup Drain out most of the liquid before using the tomatoes as well.

Mozzarella Cheese- grated 1/2 to 3/4 cup or sliced.

Basil- about 10-12 leaves

Roma or similar sized tomatoes- 3-4 sliced.


Preheat your oven to 425°. Place a pizza stone or heavy baking sheet in oven. (keep pizza stone or baking sheet in oven as it preheats) Roll out the pizza crust that you have prepared on to the parchment paper. Roll a thin crust pizza about 1/2″ thickness.

Sprinkle 1 Tbsp. olive oil on top of the pizza crust.

Cover the crust with the tomatoes from the can. Distribute these tomatoes so that they reach to about 1/2″ away from the edge of the crust.

Sprinkle the cheese that every slice gets a bit. Top the pizza with the basil and sliced Romas.

Use the parchment paper to transfer the pizza to your pan. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until it begins to brown around the edges and appears to be done.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *